Created by: Kristen Carli, Dietetic Intern
What is Mindful Eating?
Mindful eating is the process of being completely present and aware of the eating experience. This includes listening to innate hunger cues to guide your eating decisions, choosing foods that are both satisfying and nourishing to your body, and acknowledging your responses to food without judgment.
Try Mindful Eating
There are many ways to try to integrate more mindful eating into your everyday life. Practice the following tips to become more experienced with mindful eating.
- Tune into your body’s hunger cues.
It can be difficult at first to identify if you are feeding an emotional desire or responding to your body’s needs. Some emotional desires that can lead to eating are frustration, loneliness, boredom, stress, and sadness. Check in with yourself and make sure you are eating when your body is physically hungry.
2. Eat slowly.
It takes the brain 20 minutes to recognize that your stomach is full. Fast eaters are often also over-eaters. Prevent overeating by eating slowly. Aim to chew your food more thoroughly or set your fork down in between bites.
3. Pursue healthy eating environments.
How often do you eat on-the-go, eat mindlessly while wandering around looking through cabinets, eat while watching TV or scrolling through your phone? This kind of eating environment creates distractions, preventing you from tuning into your body and leading to overconsumption.
Aim to put your food on a plate, sit down at a table, and enjoy the company of others. This will allow you to talk between bites, slowing down the eating process. It will also provide a pleasant connection, creating a safe and positive eating environment.
4. Connect with your food.
We often don’t think about the food that we are eating much outside of the taste. Another aspect of mindful eating is considering where your food comes from. This could range from the loved ones that have prepared the meal, to those who planted and harvested the ingredients. Think about the cultural traditions that have brought you to this food, the recipes that were shared, and the nutritive value of the food. This process will help you become more grateful for the food you are eating but also more connected to it. You may begin to make wiser choices about the sustainability and nutrition of your food.
Benefits of Mindful Eating
By partaking in mindful eating, you will have the ability to reconnect to your innate hunger cues. This can free you from emotional eating and empower you to make healthier choices without dieting. Mindful eating will allow you to bring awareness to the eating process and your relationship with food.
Material adapted from thecenterformindfuleating.org & mindful.org